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Airlines promote testing as way of restarting transatlantic travel

22 Jul 2020 by Tom Otley
New York skyline (iStock.com/GCShutter)

Airlines have written a letter to US vice-president Mike Pence and the EU commissioner for home affairs Ylva Johansson urging testing as way of restarting transatlantic travel.

The airlines including IAG, American Airlines, the Lufthansa Group and United Airlines rely heavily on transatlantic travel for their profits, and the current situation of quarantines and rising cases in the U.AS makes the recovery of this market seem as distant more distant than it was in March of this year. The letter says that,

“Given the unquestioned importance of transatlantic air travel to the global economy as well as to the economic recovery of our businesses, we believe it is critical to find a way to re-open air services between the US and Europe.”

“In addition to all the significant and unprecedented actions that governments and airlines are taking to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus, a co-ordinated Covid-19 testing programme could be key to providing confidence to permit services to resume without quarantine requirements or other entry restrictions,”

“Covid-19 testing is becoming more and more common throughout the world as a tool to avoid these other more intrusive measures.

There are some airports offering Covid-19 testing, with results being available within three hours in the case of a pilot scheme by Lufthansa.

Lufthansa offers passengers a certified PCR test for Covid-19

The exact form of the test, whether it takes place at the airport or at a testing centre closer to the passenger’s home and them uploaded to some form of database remains to be seen.

The letter continues

“We recognise that testing presents a number of challenges, however we believe that a pilot testing program for the transatlantic market could be an excellent opportunity for government and industry to work together and find ways to overcome obstacles and explore all solutions to protect health, build confidence, and safely restore passenger travel between the US and Europe.

“Nobody will benefit from a prolonged closure of this most indispensable corridor for global aviation.”

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